COVID-19: ASQA is committed to working with providers
ASQA understands the challenge that the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak poses for VET and ELICOS providers, their staff and students. We are committed to a flexible approach to regulating the sector in the current environment and we acknowledge that challenges during this time will take many forms.
ASQA is focused at this time on supporting providers to maintain quality of training and assessment and providing assurance of the outcomes of competency.
We are working with other Australian Government departments and industry to share updated information for providers and students. We also encourage any provider impacted by this health issue to contact us so that we can work to provide any additional support required.
Our thoughts are with those affected, and we are prepared to support providers to manage any compliance concerns effectively.
A joint ASQA and TEQSA statement regarding regulatory flexibility
All AQF training and assessment must meet high quality standards regardless of the location of the student and the mode of delivery. As long as the student remains enrolled with their provider, and the assessment requirements of the course allow it, the location of the student and the mode of delivery should not form an impediment to attainment of an Australian qualification.
National regulators, including ASQA and TEQSA, will be flexible in order to support students to study online either in Australia or offshore.
Providers should assure themselves that such arrangements maintain assessment and quality standards, and are appropriately documented. Not all qualifications are suited to online learning, this may include those with mandatory work placements.
If providers have questions about their specific circumstances they should contact their relevant regulator.
We acknowledge the challenges providers face, particularly as they relate to delivery and assessment of some practical aspects of courses, self-isolation impacts and travel and quarantine restrictions.
ASQA does not intend to pursue regulatory action against providers taking adaptive measures when impacted by COVID-19 and recommends that all measures are documented in the relevant students’ records. This includes adaptive measures relating to the National Code, the Standards for RTOs or the ELICOS Standards, and applies to:
- variations to documented delivery strategies
- student ‘attendance’
- limitations of online course delivery (particularly for overseas students)
- other areas where action is required to assist students.
Some providers may be concerned about current regulatory activity underway, requests by ASQA to provide information or possible future regulatory activity.
We encourage any providers impacted by COVID-19 to contact our Info Line on 1300 701 801 or email email@example.com to discuss adaptive measures.
To support providers during this time, we are:
- enabling providers temporarily ceasing operations to maintain their registration by placing it on hold (effectively a hibernation period)
- allowing notification of temporary changes to be made using our online form
- extending transition periods for 141 qualifications
- extending the deadline for completion of the annual declaration on compliance to 30 April 2020
- extending some registration periods to relieve the pressure of upcoming renewal applications
- postponing regulatory activities already underway, in consultation with providers.
The information in the links below is being updated frequently, and we encourage those affected by the Coronavirus to check these regularly.
CRICOS providers are required to meet there provider default obligations when placing a hold on their registration. We have published a guide to help explain these requirements.
ASQA acknowledges the variety of challenges currently facing providers as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
ASQA recently approved an extended transition period for 51 qualifications due to expire between 17 March and 15 July 2020.
To help make it easy to meet your reporting obligations in relation to temporary changes, ASQA has released an online submission form.
All AQF training and assessment must meet high quality standards regardless of the location of the student and the mode of delivery.
We know that the COVID-19 pandemic is creating unforeseen challenges for providers, raising questions about how you can best continue providing quality education to your students.
ASQA recognises that this is a difficult time for the sector and that the health of staff and students is a priority.
The Department of Education, Skills and Employment has issued updated guidance on travel restrictions and exclusion periods in relation to the COVID-19 outbreak.
The Department of Health has released updated advice to RTOs in relation to the coronavirus outbreak.